Cleanup crews have begun demolishing the stretch of Jersey Shore boardwalk engulfed in a massive fire that destroyed more than 50 businesses last month.
Seaside Park and Seaside Heights officials agreed last week to hire South Toms River-based Eagle Paving Corp. to demolish the stretch of boardwalk burned in a fire started by an electrical failure at an ice cream store Sept. 12.
The company will receive roughly $4.7 million for the work, which could take up to 60 days to complete.
Due to the emergency nature of the cleanup, state officials allowed the towns to skip a closed bidding process and instead allowed them to seek quotes. Two of the four interested firms proposed a lower cost than Eagle Paving, but officials felt the bids were too low for the job to be done well.
"They definitely underestimated the job," Seaside Heights administrator John Camera told the Asbury Park Press, noting that just dropping off the debris at a landfill is estimated to cost $1 million.
The bids received for the work ranged from $979,000 to $6.34 million, officials said. The newspaper said Eagle Paving is run by Bill Majors, who also runs FunTown Pier, the amusement pier that was destroyed in Sandy and lost what was left in the boardwalk fire.
The boardwalk area has been closed since the fire.
The two towns plan to build a temporary dune to protect the shore line in the area where the debris is until new development begins.